Considering how much electricity we are facing now a days, and then the combination of Ramzan and summers, I have heard people sleeping in the cars overnight with AC on. My first reaction was, well that can’t be healthy. I started snooping around the internet looking for answers, and well, here is what I found.
The shortest answer, if it is safe to sleep in a running car with A/C on overnight, is no. Of course there are a lots of variables, but why risk your life in the first place. Also you will end up with insane fuel bills.
The thing is, your car’s engine is continuously producing harmful gasses when it’s running. When you are on the road and driving, you are leaving all those gasses behind. But if you are static at one place, literally for hours, there is a great chance that a heavy chunk of those gases will end up in your car’s cabin. There is only so much insulation your cabin can do. You would argue that your car is new and AC system is top notch, but even the air flow in a closed space can be compromised. Considering the built quality and standards of our local cars, you can never be too sure. Experts say carbon monoxide poisoning can kill you within an hour.
In Gulf countries, where the temperature gets really high, the authorities started to warn their residents who would sleep in the running cars during day time. Your A/C system could have a leak and carbon monoxide cab accumulate at lower level, ending up in your car’s A/C system.
CO is very deadly, and it can cause sleep like state on entering the blood. CO basically reduces the blood’s ability to carry oxygen to your cells, and in return, they start to die one by one eventually. The human body cannot actually detect lack of oxygen. The person won’t feel any pain or discomfort.
The thing is, if the car is somehow airtight, which is highly unlikely, you can die of CO2. And if your car has leaks, the CO from the running engine will creep in and can cause fatality. So it’s a lose-lose situation in both cases. One must always take precautionary measures to ensure safety of themselves and their passengers.
Even if you survive the CO, you will end up ruining your engine because of excessive idling. A subject on which we will write in the future.